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Commercial notebooks turn the corner

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PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) reached 17,2 -million units in the first quarter of 2016 — a 14,6% decrease year on year, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).
Despite the shrinking market, commercial notebook PCs returned to growth in Western Europe (WE) and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In contrast, the consumer market performed poorly following a strong push for the Bing promotion in January 2015, making the comparison unfavourable.
Exchange rates, oil prices, and macro-economic conditions contributed to the difficult situation, as in previous quarters. Depending on local currency fluctuations, shipments were pushed or stopped, contributing to further unpredictability.
Inventory remained an area of focus, but clearly the level of concern was limited in comparison to the previous year.
While it is not unusual to have a lot of contrast between countries within a region, this quarter also showed strong variations within countries between segments and product categories.
There were also a lot of differences in the results of the top market players. In the context of a shrinking market, market consolidation was clearly accelerating.
However, new technology introductions such as Windows 10 and Skylake as well as the evolution of form factors to address consumerization and mobility trends, led to new market share redistribution.
The main winner was HP, while Dell and Asus also outperformed the market average, and last but not least among the top 10, Apple and Fujitsu posted strong results.
“The return to growth in commercial notebooks in Europe is a good sign,” says Chrystelle Labesque, director,= of IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “It is interesting, however, how market consolidation is progressing. Productivity is key in enterprise. Innovation in terms of form factors and productivity gains with the latest generation of devices is supporting some renewal in the enterprise space.”
Slightly better than expected Western European shipments declined 12,1%, while Central and Eastern Europe decreased 10,8%. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) suffered again, with shipments down 25,1%. In Western Europe, commercial notebooks posted 1,3% growth, with Germany even seeing double digit growth in this area. Most countries were in decline, except Finland and Norway. The Nordics improved, while Southern Europe was weaker. Low oil prices together with currency fluctuations and political instabilities remained key market inhibitors in the CEMA region, but as in Western Europe, CEE posted a small growth in commercial notebook shipments: +0,7%.
“The PC market in both the CEE and MEA regions in 1Q16 performed very much in line with the forecast. Demand for PC’s in the MEA region remains negatively affected by economic instability in Turkey, currency devaluation in both Turkey and South Africa, a slowdown in tourism in the UAE, and reduced consumer confidence due to lower oil revenues for Saudi Arabia and conflicts in the ‘Rest of Middle East’ subregion,” says Nikolina Jurisic, product manager of IDC CEMA.
“The region reported a contraction of 25,1% YoY. The PC market in CEE reported a yearly decline of 10,8%. The Russian PC market remains constrained by the overall economic environment. Other countries in the region reported a decline YoY that was particularly strong in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania, and Czech Republic, mostly due to the unfavourable comparison with the Microsoft Bing promotion last year and political instability in Romania and Bulgaria.
“The PC market rebounded in Ukraine after a long period of decline, reporting overall shipments of just over 200K, thanks to economic improvements, deferred demand and healthy inventory at the end of 2015, resulting in both consumer and commercial sector showing a double digit YoY growth.”
The top three players now account for 56,3% of the total market volume versus 54,5% in 1Q16.
HP outperformed the market and gained 1,6% in share, reaching 24.9% in EMEA. The vendor’s focus on new products contributed to the gains, together with particularly strong results in commercial notebook.
Lenovo is in second position. The vendor maintained its leadership in consumer shipments in EMEA and consolidated its second position in commercial, where it marginally gained some shares thanks to an above average performance in desktop.
Dell regained third position owing to a strong result in commercial notebooks. Dell grew faster than the market and consequently gained share in EMEA. The vendor continued to grow in particular in the commercial segment.
ASUS had another strong quarter, declining less than the market average thanks to its notebook performance.
Acer remained fifth, managing inventory with caution. The vendor suffered from the comparison with Bing shipments a year ago.
Outside the top five vendors, Apple continued to outperform the market and ranked sixth. Fujitsu ranked 7seventh thanks to a solid performance in Germany. Toshiba is now eighth as the vendor shifts focus towards commercial in most countries. MSI and Wortmann closed the top 10.